Jacqui Davis was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and moved to the UK as a kid. After graduating with a 1st in Animation from Staffordshire University in 2012, she began freelancing. She is also known as the Logic Fairy and currently lives and works in Lytham-St-Annes, where she enjoys walks through the woods or ambles along the estuary. She paints everything from adorable animals to villainous wizards, bringing life to characters she is passionate about. She listens to a good audiobook or has a movie on in the background while painting, and when she is not painting she keeps the creative mojo going by doing a spot of writing.
“Hi. My name is Jacqui Davis. I’ve been a board game artist since 2012. I became a board game artist after graduating uni. I studied 2D animation there. I was looking for studio work in animation and picked up freelancing on the side. At the time, ConceptArt.Org was a thing and I was looking through the jobs there. It ended up taking off and I enjoyed board game work so much I stuck with it.
“I’d say the art style I’m best known for is sort of… I don’t know… um… cartoony, Disney-esque sort of style. Nothing too child-orientated, but nothing too serious either. I really, like, enjoy doing character designs. That’s what I loved the best about my animation course. So I’ll really like to get character into things.
“The first board game I was an artist on is actually a tie between two games. Formula E for, at the time, Game Salute and Viticulture for Stonemaier Games. With Viticulture I was only a copy artist helping out with a few characters. Most of the art was done by Beth Sobel, but because I’d worked on that game with Jamie, I ended up working on Euphoria which again is one of the first games I worked on.
“I’d say the games I’m most proud to have worked on are those early games. So Formula E, Euphoria and Belle of the Ball, because they’re what really got me into the industry and what kept me interested.
“I like creating artwork that has a lot of life and a bit of fun in it and one of my favourite things to do is sort of invent a world for the game if I can. That’s why games like Belle of the Ball or more recently Reload for Colossal Games are so much fun, because you’re not just doing that particular asset for the game, you’re imagining the story behind it.
“I get my inspiration from a lot of places. I follow a lot of great artists on Twitter. So that always keeps you wanting to create when you see everyone else’s, you know, fantastic work on your feed every day. The other thing I’d say I get a lot of inspiration from is history. I’m a big fan of anything medieval or ancient history or prehistory. So I often go through different periods for different costume ideas, that sort of thing.
“For me, the most challenging part of making art for board games specifically is keeping in mind that, you know, this game has to be played as well. So envisioning the illustrations with graphic design and layout and playability, keeping that all in mind. I tend to want to just make a pretty illustration that tells a story and I have to remind myself that, you know, people are going to want to play this game as well. That’s why it’s always great to work with a good graphic designer and art director. It’s really great to work as a team and have that communication, bouncing ideas back and forth, so that we get, you know, a final, you know, good product that hopefully, everyone will like.
“I’m not sure if it’s the most important part of making art for board games, but definitely for me the most fun bit, is working on the cover, because that’s when you tend to just be able to get loose and just have a lot of fun, but I do think the most important thing for me is good communication with the client and trying to understand the vision that they have for the game and the art in their head and getting that nailed down right. So that I find can be most tricky, but if you get it right then it tends to lead to a better project I find.
“I think the longest I’ve worked on a board game, the art, is for Reload and that’s just because we worked on it on and off several months, because there can be periods where you work on a project and then you wait for feedback, etc. So that can increase the lifespan of a project a fair bit and the thing on Reload, what took the longest, was there’s a fair array of weapons in the game and weapons are not my natural habitat. So I wanted to get them right. So that took a fair bit of back and forth before we were all happy with them.
“In my view, I think I’d like to see, I don’t know, more variation in the art of a board game. So, you know, more styles. What I love is all the current artists who are out there and who are getting into the industry at the moment. There’s not just one prevailing style over everything. Everything doesn’t look the same and it’s really great to see all this beautiful artwork being made.
“And leaping off from that, I think my favourite artists in the industry at the moment are Andrew Bosley who did Everdell and also Vincent Dutrait. I love his work. I met him at Essen a couple of years ago and have to admit I was pretty starstruck. I just want all of their covers. Just, you know, as posters for my walls that would be great.
“Well, anyone who’s seen my work will know I love all the colours, but in terms of my favourite colour, I think it would have to be duck egg blue or teal. Most of my house is decorated in one of those two things, just, it’s a really nice calming colour but also really cozy. So definitely duck egg blue or teal in everything.
“What very few people know about me is I actually enjoy writing stories. That’s my main hobby outside of work. A friend and I, another artist, Katy Grierson, uh, we’ve been writing a story and developing a world for over a decade now. So that’s what I love, is just, um, to write and to create. It’s another way of being creative without having to sit and draw.
“For anyone wanting to become a board game artist, I think my advice would be, just, I don’t know, take one or two small jobs and just see where it leads to and keep at it. As I said, if I hadn’t taken those few small freelancing jobs, in the beginning, I wouldn’t have stuck with it, wouldn’t be where I am now. I suppose more concrete advice would be, you know, try to, um, meet clients and meet people in the industry if you can. I’ve only recently started taking my own advice on this front and have been over to Essen Spiel a couple of years, except obviously not last year, for obvious reasons, but it’s just good to meet people in the industry and shake hands and make friends. I’ve met a lot of great, actually, fellow artists that way and other people.
“If anyone wanted to get in touch, they can always reach me at my email address which is [email protected] or find me over Twitter also @LogicFairy or my website which is nice and easy: jacquidavis.com. Usually on one of those three things. I’m actually more likely to see emails than I am DMs if I’m honest. So yeah, I’m always happy to help out if I can.
“It’s been really fun doing this. I’d like to thank Oliver for the opportunity and thanks again.”
Transcript by Make My Game Travel (https://makemygametravel.com)